Time To Dispel PR Myths Forever

I just got back from a business trip out of town.  It’s gratifying to experience Tanner Friedman’s growth far beyond a “one area code” firm.  We get to add value to client activity in many states and getting out of town for a couple of days is a chance to spend time with our clients in a more casual way.

On this trip, one client and I compared notes on the biggest PR myths.  We just can’t figure out how they are perpetuated through the years, particularly by people in business who have never made their living via communications.  But we share the frustration of having to debunk them much more often than we should.

Here’s an initial list of what we came up with:

1) Proclamations and Resolutions Are Not News – You can declare today any kind of day you want.  Same goes for this week, this month or this year.  A proclamation or resolution is a nice thing to frame and hang on a wall. It’s a “feel good moment” for anyone involved with what’s being honored. But it’s not news.  Journalists realize that every day is some declared day, every week is some week and every month is some month.  Next time you hear someone suggest pitching a news story on this, ask them to think of Mayor Joe Quimby on “The Simpsons.”

2) Oversized Checks Are Not The Best Ways To Give Away Money – There isn’t a bona fide news outlet anywhere that would actually run a photo of an oversized check being given to a charity or contest winner.  It’s just plain phony.  But you wouldn’t believe how often it happens.  If you want to make your giveaway memorable, come up with something real and creative. Otherwise, stick the corny big check photo in your newsletter or on your Web site.

3) Editorial Boards Are Not The Answer To News Stories You Don’t Like – You wouldn’t believe how often we hear demands to set up editorial board meetings from companies or individuals who feel like they were wronged in a news story.  Most of those people have never actually been in one of those meetings. For news organizations that still have regularly meeting “ed boards” – meeting with them can be an effective way of initiating dialogue.  But, if you don’t like your coverage, these are not the place to air your complaints. Try that it will have the opposite effect. 

Let me know what other myths you hear “out there.”  As always, your comments are welcome.